Hey, SEO experts and content creators! Google has just released another update to their content quality system, and as someone who’s lived and breathed SEO for over a decade, I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding its intricacies. Here’s the latest scoop, complete with in-depth analysis and actionable steps.
New Horizons in Content Classification: The Improved Classifier
Firstly, Google is rolling out a more sophisticated classifier in this September 2023 update. But what does that mean for you?
Pro Tip: Google’s classifiers are algorithms designed to sort websites based on certain metrics. A new classifier could mean shifts in what Google considers a high-quality website.
💡 Actionable Insight: Given the new classifier, review your site’s metadata, on-page SEO elements, and the quality of outbound and inbound links. Use advanced SEO tools like Moz or Ahrefs to measure how your site currently stands against these criteria.
Tweaks in Google’s Guidelines
- Third-Party Content: Google is urging site owners to be cautious about hosting third-party content. This suggests a stricter approach to factors like content duplication or content that doesn’t offer added value.
- Post-Update Actions: Google’s advice on what to do after an update is ambiguous, but crucial. They hint that you might not have to do anything or might need to self-assess your content.
💡 Actionable Insight: For third-party content, ensure you are not just duplicating but adding unique value through summaries, insights, or expert opinions. For post-update actions, closely monitor analytics for at least two weeks and make changes accordingly.
👀 Real-World Example: I saw a 20% drop in organic traffic for a client who primarily curated content. We switched to a 70-30 ratio of original to curated content, which eventually led to traffic recovery.
Google has removed the phrase “written by people” in favor of “helpful content created for people.” This hints at acceptance toward AI-generated content, provided it offers value.
💡 Actionable Insight: If you use AI for content creation, ensure that the output is reviewed and enhanced by human experts to align with Google’s focus on quality and relevance.
The Crux of the Update: High-Quality Content
Google specifically targets content that seems to focus more on SEO rather than genuinely helping the user. This pivot to “user-first” content can’t be ignored.
💡 Actionable Insight: Reassess your existing content to ensure it serves a user’s intent rather than just answering a keyword query. Content should solve a problem, answer a question, or offer valuable information.
What To Do If You Are Hit
If you’re adversely impacted, Google recommends asking a list of questions about your content. The answers should guide your revisions.
💡 Actionable Insight: Use tools like SurferSEO to analyze on-page elements and compare your page with the top-ranking ones for similar queries. Modify your pages based on these insights.
👀 Real-World Example: I worked with an e-commerce site affected by a previous update. By focusing on enhancing product descriptions and adding buyer guides, we saw a 35% increase in organic traffic within two months.